France—Onion Soup

 

French Sidefrench onion soup

French Onion Soup
Soupe a l'Oignon
(Serves)

French Onion Soup—a deep, rich broth made with carmelized onions makes this beloved French classic a perennial favorite..


6 C onions (thinly sliced)
1/4 C butter
5 C beef stock
1 C water
1/4 C white wine
1 tsp. pepper
6 slices French bread (1” thick)
3/4 C Gruyere-type cheese (grated) (see sidebar)

Preheat oven to 325. In a heavy pot, sauté onions for 30 minutes till they are a rich golden brown. (Caramelize but don't burn them.) Add liquids and pepper, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.

Place bread slices on baking sheet and toast in oven 20 minutes.* Place bread in individual ovenproof soup bowls, spoon soup over bread, sprinkle with cheese, and place under broiler for 3-5 minutes, till cheese is bubbles and browns.

* If you don’t have individual ovenproof bowls, sprinkle toasted bread slices with 1/2 the cheese, then pour soup over them. Top with remaining 1/2 of the cheese. You don’t get the crusty cheesy top, but it’s just as delicious and easier to eat. Also, use this method if you're serving the soup from a large soup tureen instead of individual bowls.

| See more French recipes |

Tips & Glossary

Bouquet Garni: (boo-kay gar-nee) bundle of herbs tied together with string or wrapped in cheese cloth square; usually parsley, thyme, bay leaf, and peppercorns. Flavor is released during long cooking.Remove before serving.

Chervil: (sher-vil) related to parsley but has a delicate anise flavor. Long cooking kills flavor, so add at the last minute.

Cornichon (kor-nee-shon) teeny-tiny pickle, served with pates & smoked meats; found in specialty food stores.

Fines Herbes: (feen-airb) mix of finely chopped herbs: parsley, chives, tarragon, & chervil. Not as strong as a bouqet garni. Buy it at most grocery stores.

Fromage: (fra-mahj) Cheese! The French eat more than any nationality, 45 pounds per capita per year; and the country makes more cheeses than any other country, about 400.

The three great pedigreed French cheeses are:
• Brie (East of Paris)
• Camembert (Normandy)
• Roquefort (Southwest France, from sheep’s milk)

There are also wonderful lesser-known cheeses:
• Beaufort (Rhone Alps, hard, yellow Gruyere-type)
• Chevre (Loire Valley, soft, goat’s milk)
• Comte (Alps region, hard, yellow Gruyere-type)
• Emmental (Alps region, “Swiss” cheese with holes)
• Gruyere (hard, yellow cheese—originally French, now most is Swiss)
• Tomme (means “cheese”; soft, many varieties, all from skim milk)

Herbes de Provence (airb-duh-pro-vonce): mix of dried herbs, usually thyme, rosemary, marjoram, basil, & bay leaf Can be found at most grocery stores.

Mutarde: (moo-tard), mustard. Most famous:
• Dijon ( from the town in Burgundy)
• Meaux (from Meaux, east of Paris; whole-grained; made by Pommery).

Nicoise Olive: (nee-swaz- oh-leev) small, purplish-black olive with a mellow, nutty flavor; used primarily in Salade Nicoise. The Picholine variety is a green, medium-sized olive with a light, nutty flavor.

Roux: (roo) paste-like mix of melted butter and flour, into which liquid is gradually added. The basis of every classic French sauce.
Basic Roux: 1 part butter to 1 part flour. Melt butter and add flour, stirring vigorously, till it becomes a paste-like consistency. At this point, add slowly whatever liquid your recipe calls for

 

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